Thursday, June 2, 2016

Capturing Great Images



Anyone of the MDTA cohorts or teachers who have worked with me on making film and teaching children movie making skills will be in no doubt about my passionate advocacy for the simple tripod.



I was thinking of my colleagues when I took these photos (no tripod, but elbows on the railing in lieu) on the Ponte Sant'Angelo spanning the Tiber River in Rome.


Professional photographers were lining up to capture the magnificent sunset followed by the evening illuminations of Castel Sant'Angelo and other buildings.

I couldn't resist grabbing my phone and capturing this unexpected sight on our evening stroll to the Vatican.


They all had set-up tripods and I think one would feel uneasy joining their lineup without one!


Right now across our Manaiakalani schools our clever teachers are up-skilling themselves to create a movie with their learners to share on the BIG screen at the Manaiakalani Film Festival 2016. Every year we dissect the difference between the movies that are a hit with the audience - because that is the ultimate test, right? - and the rest. It is always the same answer.


Three things:

  • A compelling story, to paraphrase Kevin Roberts. Engaging the audience' emotions whether through humour, pathos, sympathy, joy, adrenaline or whatever. The story is essential.
  • Vision. Are we going to feel sea sick watching this? Did you use a tripod? Did you keep your back to the light source (windows, fluro lights)? These are not fancy techniques for frazzled classroom teachers. Just common sense tips.
  • Sound. Consistent sound levels. Clear speech. Background music only used if needed and used well. The post production team can do a lot to improve the sound you if you keep the sound clear and consistent.

And yes, I do recognise the irony of using inferior 'snaps shots' to illustrate this piece :)

cross posted on Not in One Hundred and Forty blog